Media picks Champion Audi to win Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2003) -- While the two cars of Team Bentley have received a great deal of attention in pre-race buildup, the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 is the favorite to win Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in a poll of 26 ...

SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2003) -- While the two cars of Team Bentley have received a great deal of attention in pre-race buildup, the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 is the favorite to win Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in a poll of 26 domestic and international journalists who are covering the sports car endurance race at Sebring International Raceway.

Emanuele Pirro, JJ Lehto and Stefan Johansson, all former drivers in Formula One racing, will share the Champion Audi, which received nine winning votes from journalists. The three drivers are all former winners of America's oldest sports car race.

Receiving six winning votes in the poll was the Infineon Team Joest Audi, the polesitting car for the event. Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Phillip Peter will be the co-drivers for the Joest team, which has won the Sebring event three consecutive years.

The Audi UK Audi R8, to be driven by Jonny Kane, Perry McCarthy and Mika Salo, received three votes in the poll, as did the Bentley Speed 8 driven by Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith.

Receiving two votes in the media poll were the Dyson Racing Lola-MG driven by James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace and the Jim Matthews Racing Riley & Scott MkIIIC-Yates driven by Jan Magnussen, Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews.

The second Bentley, driven by the lineup of David Brabham, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell, received one vote in the poll.

The 51st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway at 10:30 a.m. and will be televised live by the SPEED Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

Results of the media poll:

ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 (Emanuele Pirro, JJ Lehto, Stefan Johansson)
Gary Watkins, Autosport Magazine (England)
Marco Ragazzoni, Autosprint Magazine (Italy)
Jean-Marc Teissedre, Auto Hebdo (France)
Cammy Clark, Miami Herald
Patrick Rosier, La Nouvelle Republique (France)
Carole Capitaine, L'equipe (France)
Francois Daure, Le Figaro (France)
Palnet Bruno, Le Naine Libre Dai (France)
Jean Claude Virfeu, Ouest France

INFINEON TEAM JOEST AUDI R8 (Frank Biela, Marco Werner, Phillip Peter)
Erik Schevlic, Associated Press
Pete Lyons, Autoweek Magazine
Brian Laban, Daily Telegraph (England)
Michael Cotton, Motorsports News (England)
Ken Baser, Racing Information Systems
Tony Fabrizio, Tampa Tribune

AUDI UK AUDI R8 (Mika Salo, Jonny Kane, Perry McCarthy)
Rathieu Grossot, Eurosport
Ginny Buckley, News International (England)
Dunn Neugebauer, Palm Beach Post

TEAM BENTLEY SPEED 8 (Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello, Guy Smith)
Mike Szvetitz, Highlands Today
Alain Lorang, Le Mans Magazine (France)
Bruce Sweetman, Road & Track Magazine

DYSON RACING LOLA-MG (James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger, Andy Wallace)
Tom Kjos, Dailysportscar.com
D.C. Williams, Daytona Beach News-Journal

JIM MATTHEWS RACING RILEY & SCOTT MKIIIC-YATES
    (Jan Magnussen, Marc Goossens, Jim Matthews)
Kerry Morse, European Car Magazine
Nancy Schilke, Motorsport.com

TEAM BENTLEY SPEED 8 (David Brabham, Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell)
Joanne Korth, St. Petersburg Times

-alms-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Johnny Herbert , David Brabham , Stefan Johansson , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Guy Smith , Frank Biela , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Mika Salo , Marc Goossens , Mark Blundell , Jonny Kane , Marco Werner , Phillip Peter , Jim Matthews , Perry McCarthy , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto
Teams Williams , Dyson Racing